I am not sure she did. However, a free trade deal was always a possibility (and still is).
She did not want a free trade deal because she wanted to be in the single market and customs union, because she is a Remainer. What she tried to negotiate was access to the single market and customs union without membership. The end result is a deal to remain in the EU but with no say in EU policy. This is why Remainers are claiming (correctly) this is worse than Remain. It is a dog’s breakfast that will be rejected by parliament. I doubt the majority against will be much under 200. The more she advoca…
Both Norway and Canada were on offer from the EU at that point.
Since then, the EU has developed the NI border issue to such an extent that neither deal is on the table any more. Even a soft Norway deal does not satisfy all their demands for NI.
May’s current deal is close to a Norway deal. It’s a clever, if tortuous, attempt to get round the EU’s NI border demands. Many people say it’s worse than the Norway deal for precisely that reason (because we may be legally tied into a backstop forever).
If May had gone for a Norway deal at the start, would it have gone through? Before the NI border issue became ‘weaponised’? I think the answer is ‘yes’.
The fault lies in most Brexiters (who would never have accepted a Norway deal at that time). But also the EU, for moving the goalposts to an impossible position.
Norway voted on entry to the European Union (EU) in 1974 and 1994, rejecting membership both times. Today a majority remains opposed to EU membership.
The relationship between NATO and the EU is a matter of major importance for Norway. Norway enjoys close collaboration with the EU in many fields including that of defence and security policy. Norway participates in the EU’s rapid response forces. The Norwegian frigate Fridtjof Nansen is taking part in the EU’s operation ATALANTA in the Gulf of Aden. Norway is closely associated with the European Defence Agency (EDA) which works for a more closely integrated market in Europe for defence materiel.
In the field of security policy the EU has become a more important actor than it has been in the past. The Lisbon Treaty, which came into force a month ago, is likely to strengthen this development. This is something in which Norway takes an active interest. It is now important that there should be in place effective arrangements for collaboration between NATO and the EU. Both operationally in order to avoid duplication in the development of military capabilities and financially in order to avoid the squandering of resources.
In the 1980s the EU underwent a process of vitalisation which resulted in among other things to the decision to establish an internal market. With the changes of regime in Eastern Europe and the re-unification of Germany in 1989-90, the integration process was given an extra push. The changed framework conditions inevitably led to fresh interest in the question of Norwegian participation in the European integration process.
In order to meet the challenge involved in the introduction of the internal market, Norway and the other EFTA members (except Switzerland) reached an agreement with the EU in 1992 on the establishment of the European Economic Area (EEA). Through this agreement a number of important principles enshrined in the EU treaty were made applicable to the EEA area in its entirety. This applied especially to the requirements concerning the internal market, i.e. the body of rules governing the free exchange of goods and the free movement of persons, capital and services. In November 1992 the Norwegian government decided to take another step forward. Once again the government applied for Norwegian membership of the EU: once again the Norwegian people said “no”. In a referendum held in November 1994, 52.2% of the votes cast were against Norwegian membership of the EU. After this Norway again fell back on the EEA agreement.
The EU’s gradual implementation of the economic and monetary union and the introduction of the euro in 1999 gave European integration a more binding character. The EU stands as a central European forum for cooperation and plans for a further expansion of the Union to include Central and Eastern Europe will further strengthen this development. At the same time Norway is becoming increasingly dependent on trade with the EU. Today, more than 75% of Norwegian exports go to the EU countries. The EFTA pillar within the EEA is, however, both shaky and fragile after EFTA shrunk in 1995 to embrace only three small countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. EFTA’s, and thereby Norway’s possibility of influencing EU developments is slight.
The EU members’ common foreign and security policy, (CFSP) and co-operation on legal and police matters is not covered by the terms of the EEA agreement. Norway’s potential to influence developments is therefore relatively limited. In connection with the Schengen co-operation Norway has admittedly negotiated an agreement. In other sectors Norway attempts to safeguard its interests through an ongoing exchange of information and presentation of its viewpoints and interests through various channels of contact with the EU. An active bilateral diplomacy towards the individual EU countries is also important this context.
Press release | Date: 07/10/2019
– The security situation has deteriorated. That is why this Government has increased its defence budgets every single year since we took office, and we will continue to strengthen the defence in the years to come, says Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen.
The Government proposes to increase the defence budget by more than 2 billion Norwegian kroner. The defense budget for 2020 will thus amount to almost 61 billion Norwegian kroner. We are now entering the last year of the current long-term plan. With the government’s proposal, the goals in the long-term plan have been fulfilled.
The Norwegian Army’s share of the budget is about 6 billion Norwegian kroner. This includes funding for the introduction of the new short range air defence into service. More ammunition for training and exercises will be procured, and spare parts for the Army’s main battle tanks will be procured to maintain the operational capacity until new main battle tanks are acquired. The budget allows for the strengthening of the Finnmark Land Command with the continued establishment of a ranger company at the Garrison in Sør-Varanger and a new manoeuvre element at the Garrison in Porsanger. The Government will continue the high level of training and exercises in the Home Guard.
The Norwegian Navy’s share of the budget, including the Coast Guard, is about 5.7 billion Norwegian kroner. The main priorities for 2020 are increased manning for frigates and the Coast Guard and a continued high level of activity.
The Norwegian Air Force’s share of the budget, including the Rescue Helicopter Service, is about 6.9 billion Norwegian kroner. In 2020, introduction into service of the F-35 fighter aircraft and the new NH90 helicopters, and increased activity in air defence units will continue. In addition, preparation for the transition to and reception of new P-8 maritime patrol aircraft from 2022 will continue.
The Government proposes to allocate 105 million Norwegian kroner for temporary measures to reduce the negative effect on operations after the loss of the frigate KNM Helge Ingstad. This includes increased manning and number of days at sea for the logistics vessel KNM Maud and the procurement of lost spare parts.
– The investments produces results. The Chief of Defence reports an increase in activity and that the development is moving in the right direction, says Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen.
With the government’s defence budget proposal, including adjustments in reporting defence spending to NATO, the preliminary forecast on defence spending’s share of GDP is about 1.8 percent in 2020.
The Kingdom of Norway is not a member state of the European Union (EU). It is associated with the Union through its membership in agreements in the European Economic Area (EEA) established in 1994, and by virtue of being a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) which was founded in 1960, one of the two historically dominant western European trade blocs. Norway had considered joining the European Community and the European Union twice, but opted to decline following referenda in 1972 and 1994.
Norwegian political parties’ positions
Currently, parties supporting or opposing EU membership are to be found in both right-wing and left-wing coalitions: as a result, most governments contain pro- and anti-EU elements. To avoid further debates concerning EU membership, anti-EU parties usually require “suicide paragraphs” in government-coalition agreements, meaning that if some party in the coalition officially begins a new debate on EU, the government will fall. This has been true for both the previous centre-right Bondevik government and the centre-left Stoltenberg government. The following table shows the different parliamentary parties’ stance on EU-membership, sorted by their vote share in the latest parliamentary election (2017):
|Main argument as stated on party websites|
|Labour Party||For||For||Cooperation, influence in EU decisions.|
|Conservative Party||For||For||Peace, stability, solidarity, influence.|
|Progress Party||Against||For[a]||Bureaucracy, regulations; renegotiate EEA.|
|Centre Party||Against||Against||Sovereignty; withdraw EEA.|
|Socialist Left Party||Against||Against||Worker’s rights, undemocratic; withdraw EEA.|
|Liberal Party||For||For||Trade, diversity, peace, democracy.|
|Christian Democratic Party||Against||For||EEA sufficient.|
|Green Party||Neutral||For||No position.|
|Red Party||Against||Against||Social dumping, undemocratic; withdraw EEA.|
- If the terms of the agreement are renegotiated.[clarification needed]
On average, Norwegian voters are strongly opposed to Norwegian membership in the European Union. Polling averaged over a 10-year period shows around 70% of Norwegians voters are opposed to full EU membership.
According to a 2010 poll, the majority of the voters of every Norwegian party were against EU membership.
- Report by the EEA Review Committee. 2012. Outside and Inside Norway’s agreements with the European Union.
- Enlargement of the European Union
- Accession of Iceland to the European Union
- Greenland–European Union relations
Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs on Brexit, Trade
The great Unanswered question mainly because it has simply not been asked , is this.
Did Theresa May decline a Norway Option for the sake of Continuing EU Military Unification? I think the answer to that is yes.
Military Unification has been on the European Union’s policy agenda for decades. In the past twelve months, the pressure to complete the task has accelerated the process, particularly since the Bratislava Summit of September 2016.
There, the 27 leaders of the EU decided to “give a new impetus” to European external security and defence.
They set as a target the December 2016 European Council to formalise an implementation plan.
To quote one commentator, “European Union Defence plans are associated with the eventual formation of a European Federal State. Under the current system of unaccountable governance, this means they will be run by an unelected oligarchy. A nation-state that contracts out its defence has ceased to be.”